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Cameo glass is a form of glass art that is produced by etching and carving through fused layers of different colored glass to produce wonderful designs. This is usually done with white opaque glass figures and motifs on a dark-colored background. The technique was first seen in Roman Art of around 30 B.C.   The glass medium allows consistent and predictable colored layers, even for round objects.

In the mid-19th century there was a revival of cameo glass, who doesn’t love the the French Art Nouveau practiced by Emile Galle and the pieces signed Duam Nancy. I could spend days looking at Galle and Nancy cameo glass pieces but the Cameo glass I want to introduce you to are the Cameo Paperweights that have been made in the past 25 years (known as modern paperweights) and are still being produced today.

In the modern revival of cameo glass paperweights all of the top layer except the areas needed for the design are usually removed by an etching process — the figure areas are covered with a resistant layer of wax or some other acid-resistant material such as bituminous paint, and the blank repeatedly dipped in hydrofluoric acid, so that cameo glass is in some sense an acid etched glass. Some artist use a sand blasting technique. The detailed work is then done with wheels and drills, before finishing, and usually polishing.   It seems that in the ancient world the entire process of removing the unwanted white or other top layer was done by drills and wheels — wheel-cut decoration on glass of a single color was very common in ancient Rome. In the case of “three-layer” (or three-color) cameo, there is another layer of glass on top of the white opaque one, and further layers are possible. One Roman piece uses a record six layers.   It is not known where the ancient pieces were produced, but for want of any better suggestion most scholars think it is  likely that at least the making of the blanks was initially in the hands of imported Syrian glass-workers.

Some of the more common pieces found today are works by Barry Sautner.  Also pieces by Kelsey at the Pilgrim Glass Studio are very familiar to collectors of cameo glass paperweights.

Barry Sautner,  1952 – 2009

A beautiful cameo paperweight done by Barry with retail value listed at $9000.00. This is known as the “Lily” Sautner weight. Made at the Sautner Glass Studio in the 1980s.

     Vandermark-Merritt 1982 green cameo cut glass paperweight by Barry Sautner. Retail value $1200.00.

 

 

 

 

Barry R. Sautner, a nationally recognized glass artist, formerly of Flemington, passed away suddenly on June 30, 2009 at his home in Vero Beach FL. He was 57.

Barry was born to Elva and Alfred C. Sautner in Philadelphia in 1952, and later moved to the Flemington area, where he lived for nearly 30 years before relocating to Florida.

His background as a glass-blower in New Jersey for nearly 10 years was fueled by a passion to explore glass as a means of artistic expression. But after an illness forced him out of the sweltering heat of the furnace room, he found he had artistic visions yet to be fully realized in glass.

“Glass has always been my canvas and my voice,” Saunter said. In describing his artistic passion, he said, “In my carvings, I attempt to express my innermost feelings which for me, are difficult to express verbally. Major themes in my work have included the environment, beauty, nature, mythology, and the spiritual nature of man as well as people’s struggles with themselves. I’ve attempted to bring the past into the present and future by developing methods that challenge me to take glass carving beyond its acknowledged limits. In addition, I create each piece with a great degree of fine detail, hoping to involve and captivate the viewer with the piece and the message contained therein. I sincerely hope that my art will represent to the viewer something more than virtuoso carving.”

Beginning with shallow surface relief designs, Sautner continued to test the depths of the glass. The deeply undercut methods of the Romans were catapulted into the modern age, as the artist introduced a sand-blasting method of his own, called insculpture. Using his invention, he could hollow out an interior image in clear glass blanks. This resulted in infrastructures, previously thought to be impossible.

But Sautner saw the image inside, and revealed it to be possible. It is a remarkable skill to visualize and create an artwork in three dimensions, and the extractive methods Sautner had made his own, amaze even the most well-versed in glass art techniques. Technique aside, however, the complex, personal symbolism of Sautner’s artwork seems more daunting. He kept notebooks to record dreams at his bedside, thoughts that rushed to him at odd moments in the day.

“My work doesn’t come from my mind,” he explained to those close to him. “It comes from my heart, my feelings, my emotions. There are many times when I will sit down and just draw, then only through finishing it, realize that it’s symbolic of what is going on in my life. If you look closely at each piece you will see much hidden detail. If you look closer yet, you will see its meaning.”

Sautner’s willingness to explore monumental themes: emotions, philosophies and life transitions, speaks to people because his art’s scale is approachable and intimate. The proximity of the viewer to the piece creates an exchange on a personal level. Inspired as he was by the delicacy of ancient Roman diatreta, and the demure qualities of cameo carving, one can immediately appreciate Sautner’s skill. The complex framework of the works shows balance and sophisticated sculptural sensibilities, but their fragile nature belies their poise. Sautner removed layers, uncovered truths, and carved so deeply into this glass skin, one may see a tremulous heartbeat in each piece.

My inlaws live in Vero Beach Fl and while visiting my wife made a trip to the Sautner Studio.  She just went on and on about it.  I can see why.

Kelsey Murphy at  Pilgrim Cameo Studios- Ceredo, West Virginia – c. 1980’s – 2001

Under the direction of Kelsey Murphy, Pilgrim Glass introduced a line of cameo glass in the 1980’s. Cased glass is carved through a sandblasting process, to reveal the desired color and design. The designs are Murphy’s own pictorial scenes. All pieces are signed by Kelsey. Most are issued in limited editions and numbered.

Check out these pieces being offered at an on-line auction as well as prices actually sold for (after 4/15/2012).

Titled “Crowning Wish”. This is a 5 color cameo, very difficult to make. Signed by Kelsey Murphy. Retail value listed at $4000.00 to $7000.00.

Titled “Fall Gum” . This is a three color cameo signed by Kelsey Murphy. Retail value listed at $2000.00 to $3500.00. 

This is a 2 color weight called the Fern weight by Kelsey Murphy with a listed retail of $400.00 to $700.00.

 

 

 

I have tried to show you at least three of the different priced Kelsy cameo weights so that you have an idea of the values as compared to the amount of work and the rarity of the peice.  One thing for sure is that there seems to be an abundance of the Pilgrim Glass Studios work marketed.  However, since they are closed that may not last long.  If you want such a weight NOW is the time to buy it!  You can attend an online auction on April 14, 2012 at this address: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/29022_kelsey-murphy-cameo-glass-auction/page1  or you can check after the sale date to see what the pieces actually sold for.

Another interesting cameo artist I have found is Joye Colbeck. Joye is a glass artist located in the UK. On a recent weblog I found the following info that she shared with us. (quote) “I make my work infrequently and make for my own enjoyment. Many glass artists are quitting due to the high prices of fuel and the worldwide recession, but I’m hanging on in there because I love the process too much to see sense!. I intend to make a living from glass making again someday but since a motorbike accident I’ve struggled with a very painful arm. I blow cased vessels which are then etched to leave the design in relief on the surface. I put my pieces on sale, I’m always hoping to cover the cost of my materials, if they go for more then it’s something towards my time. If you like my work, pay what you can to support my future endeavors. I am in the process of setting up my own website to share more of what I do. Recent shoulder surgery has delayed this but I’m on the mend so it shouldn’t be long now. It has also kept me from the glassmakers chair thus the need to blow and feel the heat of the molten material is spurring on my attempts at recovery”.

I have purchased, owned and sold a few of the Colbeck weights.  They are certainly cameo in nature however probably more of a carved weight using a sandblasting technique.  I love her work. She is just great!

   SOLD!  This was a beautiful Blue glass weight of birds and trees hand carved and signed by Joye.

Made of purple glass and then hand carved.  Signed on the base in script Joye Colbeck, PPWT2, 2/50, 2009.  Currently listed in my eBay store Kelekchens.

 

 

 

 

I hope Joye is well and continues to make her excellent weights however I have not seen anything recently made or listed for sale.  They may be now hard to find.  Check for yourself.

As many of my followers and readers know, I do collect paperweights and have a fairly substantial collection of glass weights.  My collection mostly is of American artist from the 1970s – 1990s.  I have always been a huge fan of Orient & Flume, Lundberg Studios and Lotton Studios to name a few.  I love the aurene and irridescent styles that were made by these studios.  I have tried to write a pretty exhaustive article on Orient & Flume paperweights simply because it is an interesting story and the O&F studio contracted so many artist over the years. I continue to add to the Orient & Flume blog with new purchases and new sales.  Even after 35 years of collecting and paying attention to Orient & Flume’s work I still get an occasional surprise, and here is another.  I never considered that O&F would have a cameo glass weight.

   In a dust free case. Of course!   

     Ahh! There it is! The detailed carving of the surface ie; leaves and flower petals was done with a scrimshaw tool, by hand.

     This is actually a three color cameo  (two greens on white base) that has also been hand worked and polished. All exquisite hand made glass details.

 Signed by Dan Shura, 1983

    Created for and marketed by Orient & Flume Studios in Chico, CA  1983

 

 

 

 

Having collected the Orient & Flume weights for a very long time this is the very first O&F Cameo Glass weight I have seen.  Unlike other studios that I have listed above who have focused specifically on cameo weights this one is a rarity!  A very unique paperweight done by Dan for Orient and Flume.  If you would like to know more about Dan Shura be sure to read my previous blog on Orient & Flume.  Also, be sure to look at two weights that are currently for sale at the official O&F website.  Current retail prices are $2500.00 – $3000.00.  Go here:  http://www.orientandflume.com/Categories/Paperweights.aspx?sortorder=1&page=4  Listed as the Engraved Fox and the Engraved Wren.

You can find this Orient & Flume paperweight done by Dan Shura in my eBay store.  Put your cursor on my assistant, the Duck, double click and you are there.  Thanks for reading my blog and until next time Happy Collecting and remember “The best is yet to come”.

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Zino Davidoff was born on March 11, 1906 in Kiev, Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine. He was the eldest of four children born to tobacco merchant, Henri Davidoff. Even in his own autobiographical writings, the facts on Zino’s youth are a bit hazy, as he was quite young during this time and could only piece together some stories of his youth. His parents were either cigar merchants or cigarette manufacturers in Kiev. Fleeing the political turmoil and anti-Semitism prevalent in Russia, his parents left some of their family behind and emigrated to Geneva, Switzerland in 1911 for a better life and opened their own Tobacconist shop in 1912. Finishing school in 1924, he went to Latin America to learn about the tobacco trade, spending time in such places as Argentina, Brazil, and finally Cuba where he spent two years working on a plantation and first encountered Cuban cigars.

Returning to Switzerland around 1930, he took over his parents’ shop. What had originally been a modest tobacco shop grew into a rich business during and after WW II. Neutral Switzerland was spared much of the havoc wreaked elsewhere in Europe and became a haven for wealthy tobacco customers. Zino was particularly successful in marketing the Hoyo de Monterrey Châteaux Series of Cuban cigars created for Zurich cigar distributor A Durr Co., in the 1940s and named after great Bordeaux wines.  Around this time, Zino is also credited by many as having invented the first desktop cigar humidor, in order to preserve cigars at the same conditions of humidity and temperature under which they were rolled in Havana. Davidoff also had success writing several books on cigar smoking and Cuban cigar brands.

In 1970, Zino sold his small but highly successful tobacco shop in Geneva to the Max Oettinger Group. Zino stayed on as Davidoff’s ambassador until his death in 1994 at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife and daughter, who remained in Switzerland and by his siblings that had since moved to other parts of the world, mainly North America. Till his last moments, Zino an avid family man, sought out to find his lost family history back in the Soviet Union and then the emerging independent states of Russia and Ukraine. Unfortunately, many historical documents had been lost and so had his search. Not much information exists on their whereabouts, but through saved notes by Zino, it has been speculated that many had defected to North America in the early to mid 70’s, some under new identities and family names.

A tobacconist is an expert dealer in tobacco in various forms and the related accoutrements. Such accoutrements include pipes, lighters, matches, pipe cleaners, pipe tampers, ashtrays, humidors and more. Books and magazines, especially ones having to do with tobacco are commonly offered. Items irrelevant to tobacco such as puzzles, games, figurines, hip flasks, and candy are sometimes sold. A tobacconist shop is traditionally represented by a wooden Indian positioned nearby.

Although I am not really a tobacconist, I have collected many tobacciana collectibles that are offered for sale at my eBay store “Kelekchens”.  You won’t see a wooden Indian but here are a few vintage and antique humidors:

                        

Noritake and Nippon Porcelain Humidors ca. early 19oo’s.

   

Marzi & Remy Porcelain Humidor – Germany ca. 1940’s

    

Metal Humidors – Adam Verde and a Boston Rumidor ca. 1940’s to 1950’s

                   

Glass Humidors – Heisey glass, polychrome mesh (1920’s Art Deco), EAPG  and  Victorian Humidors.

Hand thrown, stone crock humidor with pipe rest lid.

Depression glass, Moongleam, cigarette humidor.

And my favorite:

                   

A stunning humidor with beautiful glass.  Double click on the photos to see better details.

You can see these and many more from my collection.  Place your cursor on my assistant “the Duck” and click to go to my eBay store Kelekchens. Open tobacciana and your there.

Until next time Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come!”

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Among Nipponear’s the Cleopatra’s Barge Scene is  familiar.  You can find this motif on chargers, plaques, vases, urns, smoking sets, and jugs, both the wine and whiskey jug.  The story goes that Cleopatra fell in love with Marc Antony and they ruled Egypt and Rome together.  It was said that Cleopatra once came sailing up the river Cydnus on a barge that had outspread sails of purple and oars of silver. The barge supposedly had a gilded stem and Cleopatra sat under a canopy of gold cloth dressed as Venus.  A sight to behold I am sure.

But since we were not there we can only dream and imagine what the royal lives of such as those like Cleopatra was truly like.  To help us imagine such scenes are the beautiful hand painted artwork of Japanese painters from the early 20th century.

         

This is a very nice 12″ charger of  Cleopatra’s Barge, matte finish. The name given this Nippon motif.  Recently purchased and added to my collection.

A very similar 10 1/4″ wall plaque with the Nippon green mark #47 is listed in Joan VanPatten’s ABC’s of Collecting Nippon Porcelain on page 203 and listed at $400.00 to $475.00, 2005 price guide. With the charger I received a nice bonus piece.

    

Vase 5 1/2″ with excellent gold gilding, matte finish.  Mint condition.  Green mark #47.

  

Most normally you will find Cleopatra’s Barge motif in orange background with lavender highlights but occasionally you may see a “hard to find” piece that is particularly alluring such as this lavender/blue Cleopatra’s barge. Note that the bow of the barge is different but the background scene is the same.  This ashtray is not in a VanPatten book and I own all 7 series. I was excited to get this piece. However there is a wall plaque of a blue Cleopatra’s Barge lavender/blue as shown in The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Nippon, Joan VanPatten 1979, Plate 355 on page 217.

    

Cleopatra’s Barge motif in lavender/blue with white highlights, an unusual find.  Ashtray is 3 1/2″ C  by 1  1/4″ H  Green mark #47

If you are collecting Nippon or Noritake I would highly recommend some reference books on these wares.  Not necessarily to find items that are listed in the books but to find the items that are not listed.  Those not listed are the most exciting because you never know,  that one piece might be a “hard to find” piece or production from that mold and/or the color is uncommon. 

I would recommend the Nippon books by Joan VanPatten and also The Wonderful World of Nippon Porcelain 1891 – 1921 by Kathy Wojciehowski.  It wouldn’t hurt to also have Noritake Collectibles A to Z by David Spain.  I come across many Noritake pieces that are the same mold and even the same design as Nippon pieces and sometimes just as well painted although without the “Nippon” on the backstamp.   Also a copy of 2010 Antique Trader by Dan Brownell or a Kovell’s 2010 price guide. Indispensible for collecting and antique-ing.

Here are a few more very nice recent acquisitions:

Nippon wall plaque, 10 1/4″, green mark #47. Listed in VanPatten’s ABC of Collecting, 2005 on page 300.  Mint condition.

  

Very similar to the “Green Swan Scene.”  8 3/4″ plaque also listed in the ABC’s of Nippon by VanPatten. Blue mark #52 which dates this plaque to as far back as 1891.

  

Nippon 10″ plaque, country cottage in brown, pink and lavender highlights with beautiful enamel moriage trim. Green mark # 47.

  

Just a note about plates, plaques and chargers. A plate is not just a plate.  If labeled a plaque it has two holes on its backside to hang the plaque on the wall. A charger is normally larger than a 9 1/2″ plate, usually 12″ to 14″ and can be round or square. Does not hang without a bracket to hang it with.  Normally displayed on a large plate holder which occasionally comes with the plate otherwise you would have to buy one.  A plate usually has multiple copies and ranges from 9″ to 9 3/4″ and normally does not have ornate moriage trimwork. Plates should have matching pieces ie; cups, saucers, bowls etc.

Soon I will be receiving a shipment of more hard to find and interesting pieces of Nippon so make sure to check back often. Until then Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come.”

  

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The American Civil War (1861–1865) also known as the War Between the States was a conflict of major proportions and changed the lives and history of Americans forever.  Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America (the Confederacy). Led by Jefferson Davis, they fought against the United States (the Union), which was supported by all the free states and five border slave states.

In the presidential election of 1860, the Republican Party, led by Abraham Lincoln, had campaigned against the expansion of slavery beyond the states in which it already existed. The Republican victory in that election resulted in seven Southern states declaring their separation from the Union even before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861. Both the outgoing and incoming US administrations rejected the legality of secession, considering it rebellion.

Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a US military installation at Fort Sumpter in South Carolina. Lincoln responded by calling for a volunteer army from each state, leading to declarations of secession by four more Southern slave states. Both sides raised armies as the Union assumed control of the border states early in the war and established a naval Blockade. In September 1862, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made ending slavery in the South a war goal, and dissuaded the British from intervening.

Confederate commander Robert E. Lee won battles in the east, but in 1863 his northward advance was turned back after the Battle of Gettysburg and, in the west, the Union gained control of the Mississippi River at the Battle of Vicksburg, thereby splitting the Confederacy. Long-term Union advantages in men and material were realized in 1864 when Ulysses S. Grant fought a battle of attrition against Lee, while Union general William Sherman captured Atlanta, Georgia, and marched to the sea. Confederate resistance collapsed after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

The American Civil War was one of the earliest true industrial wars in human history. Railroads, steamships, mass-produced weapons, and various other military devices were employed extensively. The practices of total war, developed by Sherman in Georgia, and of trench warfare around Petersburg foreshadowed World War I. It remains the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Victory for the North meant the end of the Confederacy and of slavery in the United States, and strengthened the role of the federal government. The social, political, economic and racial issues of the war decisively shaped the reconstruction era that lasted until 1877.

What American hasn’t heard of the Civil War or possibly seen a Civil War artifact?  When I was about 12 years old my family took a road trip by car, driving from our small farm in Barry IL to Corsicana TX where a great aunt lived.  My mother, a major antique collector and history buff carefully planned the route down the old Route 66.  Along the way were many stops at Civil War battlefields and museums.  She took it upon herself to make sure my brother and I understood the consequence the Civil War had on our United States and how it affected the American people forever.

I was never a collector of Civil War artifacts per se although always interested in this momentous area of collecting.  Civil War collector’s are some of the most dedicated and zealous American collectors I have known and can usually cite the exact history, dates of battles, weapons used, units involved etc. more so than other areas of collecting.  Some collector’s had so many artifacts they collected they opened museums of Civil War history or started business enterprises evaluating, buying and selling these artifacts. Many of the States now have microfilmed records of battles fought, units involved and even list the state’s individual citizens and their involvement in this war. It is a very interesting period of history and makes for fabulous collecting.

Having served in the U.S. military myself for 23 years I can relate to many of the artifacts collected and their use in war.  Somehow, a few of these artifacts came into my possession.  Being a collector I guess I have a knack for recognizing what is collectible.  I usually hold onto things I think are really neat and have historical significance.  Here is my story and the few items I have collected from the Civil War.

    

A 1987 Limited Edition, Don Stivers print titled “First Sergeant”

This print by Don Stivers was purchased for me as a gift from my wife in 1994 just prior to my retirement from the Army as a First Sergeant.  It is a hand signed copy, number 1535 of 2000.  Don Stivers died in November 2009.  Don Stivers painted many scenes of and portraits of the Civil War era. You will not be able to purchase this print as it is very rare.  Those that own them will not part with them.  That makes them very collectible and valuable.  This one is not for sale.  One of the reasons I wanted to show you the print is to have you look at the First Sergeant’s sword as depicted in the print.

The sword or M1840 enlisted Calvary saber in the print is just like the civil war sword that I own.

         

An 1840 Civil War Sword Made by Horster.

 

Above is a M1840 Civil war sword made in Germany by Horster of Solengen.  There are many makers of Civil War swords some U.S. such as Ames and even Tiffany of New York and some imported from Europe such as this one.  This is a weapon that was used by a Union Officer. On the guard you will see stamped numbers.  These are called rack numbers, and were used as an accounting system. They were stamped on the sword by a quartermaster.  They don’t really tell us much about the sword as records were not kept, however, it does give us a bit of a feel that the sword was really “there”.  The fact that this sword was an enlisted saber doesn’t rule out that an officer carried the sword.  It was easy for an officer to appropriate an issued sword from the quartermaster rather than risking damaging a much nicer weapon that he had to purchase himself. This sword could possibly have stayed in service up to 1906.  NOTE:  This sword is not in perfect condition as the leather handle wrap is gone as well as the wire wrap that held it in place.  It would cost some pretty good money and time and effort to restore this sword to it’s prior glory. That being said, this is a valuable artifact that was used in the Civil War.

With the sword I also have a picture:

This is a photo of a Union Officer who supposedly carried this sword that I have. 

 

The thing to note about the photo is that it is not a tintype photo.  It is what is known as a cabinet card which dates it to about 1870.  Five years after the Civil War ended. Even though the photo is damaged (broken down the middle and repaired) it is still a very good likeness of a Union Officer and can be researched using a book called The Horse Soldier vol. II, 1851 – 1880

Some other interesting artifacts I have from this period is a Named Civil War Pattern Ladder Badge:

         

This is an ID’d Pattern Civil War badge made by the J.S. Ginger Co. of St Louis. This badge is 145 years old.

 

This is an authentic ID’d ladder badge, presented to Isaac J. Ogle, Co D, 50th Illinois Infantry.  The 50th Volunteers known as the Blind Half Hundred was organized at Quincy ILL in the month of August 1861 and mustered into service on Sept 21 1861.

Pvt. Ogle joined this unit on Aug. 19 1861, age listed as 20 years old.  If you would like to know more about this badge visit my eBay store and search for Militaria Kelekchens and read the sales ad I have with all of SGT. Ogle’s info.  Just go to My Assistant, (The Duck) in the upper right hand corner of this post. Put your cursor on the duck and press enter.

Here are some more period pieces, a Souvenir Badge dated 1922 and a desk/secretary made just prior to the Civil War.

 

That is it for today.  Come back often as I buy, trade, sell and build on the many different collections that I have.  Next post I will show you some of the Military artifacts I have from WWI and WWII. 

Until then Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come.”

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